Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15–October 15, starts in the middle of the month because that day that marks the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua from Spain. Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain on September 16, and Chile on September 18.
During this month, we recognize the contributions, heritage, culture, and importance of Hispanic and Latinx Americans and how they have shaped our country’s character.
Here are eight opportunities for your school or district to celebrate.
- Learn Spanish! Teach your students to count to 10, order food in a restaurant, or just say “good morning” by using a language-learning product such as Mango Classroom, Rosetta Stone, or Duolingo. If you’re looking for a quick tutorial, check out one of the many YouTube videos that teach the top 100 Spanish phrases, words for colors, and so on. An added bonus: All Mango Classroom courses include culture notes that teach appropriate cultural information.
- Host a cultural night for families and the community. Clear out a gym and invite your schools to “host” a different Spanish-speaking country. Each school can represent its chosen country by performing a traditional dance or song, preparing food, or playing traditional games such as El Domino or Loteria. Invite students, staff, families, and community members to come in and “visit” each country. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures to share on social media!
- Make videos to celebrate diversity. At Carolina Forest International Elementary School in Jacksonville, North Carolina, 4th/5th graders celebrated Honduras Independence Day with their dual language immersion teacher, Erick Villalobos, who is from Honduras, by making “Who Am I” videos to celebrate their backgrounds.
- Read and write different types of literature. Students write poems celebrating heritage for the annual Hispanic Heritage Poetry Contest at Colby School District in Colby, Wisconsin. See last year’s winner here. Find poetry, essays, memoirs, and short stories by Hispanic and Latinx authors or about Hispanic and Latinx culture to read aloud.
- Have an informal learning session for teachers. Are there teachers or staff members who could speak about their experiences or family histories? If not someone in-house, perhaps a parent or guardian or member of the community, such as a librarian or town council member?
- Decorate the school. In addition to hanging up photos of famous Hispanic and Latinx musicians, authors, and artists, show your students some of the artwork produced by Hispanic and Latinx artists. Ask students to share which works speak to them and why. Here’s a list of 15 Hispanic and Latinx artists to follow on Instagram.
- Celebrate through stories. Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida has more than 80,000 Hispanic students. To celebrate the diversity of all the
nationalities represented in the community, students and educators are invited to share their cultural details and story in an online form. Each week, the district features a new story on its website.
- Take an online field trip. Encourage students to research Latinx and Hispanic heritage sites, such as the ones on this page from James J. Ferris High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. Ask students to lead virtual field trips so that other students can learn about these destinations.